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Allan Kaprow

Samantha Plate's picture

While looking through Chapter 5 of Critical Play by Mary Flanagan I became interesed in an artist who was mentioned only briefly. His name is Allan Kaprow and it is his work that coined the term Happening, something we all experienced a few weeks ago.

A Happening is a work that is shaped through audience participation. It creates a narrative through interactions of the participatnts and the Environment. The Environment is the space where the work occurs that encompasses everything that is needed for the work- people need only enter for it to begin. 

Kaprow's most famous work is "18 Happenings in 6 Parts". Reading about this work reminded me of "The Quiet Volume". It involves participants moving through a series of three rooms while following the direcctions written on three cards and the sound of bells to indicate when to move on.

One more important term that Kaprow coined is Reinventions. This is when works are recreated. However, recreated works are different from the original, and are supposed to be. This is different from the idea most people have when they think about recreating a work of art. Most people buy replicas because they are so similar to the original. In this case, the works are all supposed to have an original experience. For example, Kaprow's work "Yard" has been reinvented many times. It was originally a sculpture garden full of used tires, and participants were encouraged to walk all over them and move them, and play. Reinventions of this work occured in different spaces and arrangements. One had the tires on shelves. Another used signs instead of tires. And another took place in a junkyard.

I found Yarrow's work very interesting, especially after having experienced "The Quiet Volume" and I would like to have the chance to participate in one of his works.

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